Creation of employment opportunities and incorporation of skill training programmes into the formal education system will be the focus areas of Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Dharmendra Pradhan, who took charge of Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, respectively, on Monday.
“About 10 lakh people enter labour market every month, with right skills they can earn dignified living. Will work towards the creation of job market by incorporating the skill training programmes into the formal education system. Our objective will be to create grid across sectors, states and the aspiration of the youth and ensure all the requirements are well addressed,” Pradhan said, adding that real-time data would be used to map sectorwise employment opportunities.
“It is a great responsibility, more than a challenge, and we will work for filling the need gaps and work towards ensuring the youth of a brighter future. We will explore all possible grid system, information systems, technology advent that the country is witnessing, conventional jobs and new-age skills to enable a more efficient outcome of our programmes and schemes in skills,” he said, while taking additional charge of the skill development ministry.
Pradhan was elevated as Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas in the reshuffle carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. Anantkumar Hegde, who also took charge as the Minister of State of Skill Development and Entrpreneurship, said: “…we will work as per the defined agenda and draw a proper roadmap for the work to be taken up which will bring about efficiency in the skill ecosystem.”
The labour ministry will continue consultations with all stakeholders on policy issues and expedite reforms by amending laws to create jobs, Gangwar said on Monday while taking charge as the Minister of State (with independent charge). “No one will have a problem with me. Our ministry will work in a positive mode. We will look into how to solve issues of trade unions and creation of employment opportunities,” Gangwar said.
He added that the ministry will continue to hold tripartite consultations, involving government, unions and industry. “Will walk along with everyone,” Gangwar said.
On trade unions’ allegations that the government was ignoring their demands and not involving them in discussions, Gangwar said: “We will work as per the need of the nation. We will take along all. In finance ministry also we talked about taking along all unions and not just Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS),” he said.
In Sunday’s Cabinet reshuffle, Gangwar was shifted from the position of the Minister of State for Finance to independent charge of the labour ministry. The minister said there is a lot of work to be done at the ministry while assuring that the tasks undertaken by his predecessor, Bandaru Dattatreya, will be completed.
Among the many pending issues that Gangwar will have to face would be drafting of a National Employment Policy, consolidation of 44 labour laws into four codes and building quality employment data. As part of legislative reform of labour laws, the Centre had started the process of codification and amalgamation of 44 Central labour laws into four codes related to labour, industrial relations, social security and welfare and safety and working conditions. So far, only the Code on Wages Bill that seeks to fix a national minimum wage for all categories of unorganised sector workers has been introduced in the Lok Sabha last month, but now faces the test of passage in Rajya Sabha.
Suresh Prabhu also took charge on Monday as the Minister of Commerce and Industry. Prabhu is taking charge of the commerce department at a time when export growth is waning. Export growth fell to an eight-month low of 3.94 per cent in July. P P Chaudhary on Monday took charge as Minister of State for Corporate Affairs. Chaudhary, who is also the Minister of State for Law and Justice, held meetings with senior officials at the Corporate Affairs Ministry. Shiv Pratap Shukla also took charge as Minister of State for Finance on Monday.